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Member since: Tue Jan 6, 2004, 12:46 PM
Number of posts: 38,830

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Mitt Romney no stranger to tax breaks, subsidies

Bain Capital profited from a steel company that got them, and he used them to attract business when he governed Massachusetts

As Mitt Romney defends his record running a private equity firm, he frequently points to a fast-growing Indiana steel company, financed in part by Bain Capital, that now employs 6,000 workers.

What Romney doesn't mention is that Steel Dynamics also received generous tax breaks and other subsidies provided by the state of Indiana and the residents of DeKalb County, where the company's first mill was built.

The story of Bain and Steel Dynamics illustrates how Romney, during his business career, made avid use of public-private partnerships, something that many conservatives consider to be "corporate welfare." It is a commitment that carried over into his term as governor of Massachusetts, when he offered similar incentives to lure businesses to his state.

"This is corporate welfare," said Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst with the Washington-based Cato Institute, which encourages free-market economic policies. DeHaven, who is familiar with corporate tax subsidies in Indiana and other states, called the incentives Steel Dynamics received "an example of the government stepping into the marketplace, picking winners and losers, providing profits to business owners and leaving taxpayers stuck with the bill."

Union chief (Trumka) : Congress controlled by 'climate change deniers'


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Thursday that climate change deniers call the shots in Congress.

“It is clear that as long as Congress is effectively controlled by climate change deniers, all of us — investors, companies, workers and the broader public — must take action ourselves,” Trumka said.

He said the collapse of global warming legislation has prompted the labor federation to seek other means to spur investments in climate-friendly technologies. The federation backed the sweeping climate bill that passed the House in 2009, but climate legislation collapsed in the Senate the following year and remains politically moribund amid GOP control of the House and the Democrats' slim Senate majority.

“So a year ago, as the climate bill failed in Congress, as the jobs crisis deepened and as workers’ pension funds continued to suffer from microscopic fixed-income yields, the American labor movement decided we couldn’t wait — we had to act to help advance profitable, risk-weighted investments that would create jobs and address climate change,” he said, according to prepared remarks.

Five U.S. Senators Are Perfect Koch Servants, Americans For Prosperity

Five U.S. Senators Are Perfect Koch Servants, Americans For Prosperity Reports


Five senators and 39 representatives received a perfect 100 percent score from the Koch brothers’ Astroturf group Americans For Prosperity for the first half of the 112th Congress. AFP judged Congress on their votes to protect the Koch brothers’ right-wing petrochemical empire on such issues as the repeal of President Obama’s new health care law, preempting EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget to end Medicare, ending ethanol subsidies, several Congressional Review Act resolutions of disapproval to overturn new regulations and the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills.

The Koch Five are Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Ron Johnson (R-WI), who have received a combined $187,400 in campaign contributions from the Koch empire:

Senator Koch Contributions
Coburn (R-OK) $56300
Crapo (R-ID) $42000
Hatch (R-UT) $26500
Rubio (R-FL) $34700
Johnson (R-WI) $27900

Biden hits Romney in primary night address


As Republican presidential candidates monitored vote returns from Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, Vice President Joe Biden slammed the contest's projected winner as out of touch with middle class Americans.

Speaking to New Hampshire voters via teleconference, Biden took specific aim at Mitt Romney, saying the former Massachusetts governor was more concerned with wealthy businesses than middle class workers.

Biden conceded Romney's widely-commented-on comment that he "likes being able to fire people" was "probably taken a little out of context," but said the remark nonetheless reflected Romney's true sentiments.

"He thinks it's more important for the stockholders and the shareholders and the investors and the venture capital guys to do well than for those employees to be part of the bargain," Biden said.

Video: New Hampshire Voters Slam Romney As A 'Corporate Raider'


MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — As voters here head to the polls today to help decide who will be the GOP’s presidential nominee, some voters are turning away from front-runner Mitt Romney because of his ties to Wall Street and history at Bain Capital. Speaking outside campaign events and polling places, voters told ThinkProgress they worry Romney is a “corporate raider,” who wants to “turn the government into a corporation,” and who says he wants to create jobs in the U.S. but has outsourced them to other countries. Watch our video report:


House GOP shuts down Dem speaker Jim Moran in pro forma session

House Republicans on Tuesday declined to recognize a House Democrat who was trying to speak about the need for Congress to quickly resolve its differences about how to extend the payroll tax cut.

Still, Moran argued afterwards that his inability to be recognized is a "new low" from Republicans.

"Speaker Pro Tempore Robert Aderholt refused to recognize me on the floor and in a dramatic show of Republican authority, leadership cut off the microphone during the Pledge of Allegiance and kept them off afterwards when I asked to be recognized," he said.

"The 160 million Americans who need an extension of the payroll tax cut deserve to have their voices heard. The temporary extension expires in just a few weeks. The American people have a right to hear from Members of Congress on the House floor."


The GOP’s Big Lie on Obama and jobs

Greg Sargent

In the wake of today’s better-than-expected jobs report, Newt Gingrich has now released a statement bashing Obama for failing on the economy. He did this by echoing Mitt Romney’s favorite Big Lie — i.e., that the way to evaluate the success or failure Obama’s jobs policies is to look at how many net jobs have been created or lost since he took office:

It’s actually a good thing that Gingrich did this, because it perfectly reveals the reason the Republican presidential hopefuls are insisting on using the “net” jobs metric: It’s the only way they can continue to attack Obama as a job destroyer, even as jobs continue to be created on his watch.

Though today’s numbers are cause for cautious optimism, there’s no denying that jobs have not been created as fast as we would like on Obama’s watch. But come on — the citation of jobs lost before Obama’s policies passed as evidence that those policies were a failure is just ludicrously, cosmically absurd, and should not be allowed to stand

And right on cue, Romney repeats the claim again in a statement:
more at link

Progressive Groups To Raise The Spectre Of Ryan Plan During Debates

It’s not the general election yet, but we already know what one key issue will be: Medicare. Republicans in the House voted to basically end Medicare as we know it, a position Mitt Romney fully embraced in December. Progressives think it’s never too early to remind voters where Republicans stand on the issue.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America are raising money to air an ad on the issue during the two debates this weekend. The ad, which aired this June, is aimed at New Hampshire rep. Charlie Bass who voted for the Ryan plan — and who endorsed Mitt Romney

Democrats know this is a winning issue for them. Republicans were scared by this very ad this summer and tried to get it taken off the air. But, as progressives want to remind them, they, and whoever their nominee is, have already yoked themselves to the Ryan plan. PCCC spokesman Niel gave the following statement on the ad buy:

Tea Party Representative Charlie Bass voted to end Medicare and this issue is one of the reasons he endorsed Mitt Romney. By airing this ad during this weekend’s New Hampshire presidential debates, we are holding Charlie Bass accountable for voting to end Medicare and making sure that Republican presidential candidates cannot escape their party’s extremism on this issue

Watch the ad:

Alan Grayson:Rick Santorum is Wrong


Maybe I should leave it alone. Maybe I should just let Rick Santorum enjoy the 15 minutes of fame that comes with getting 30,000 Republicans to vote for you. (Less than one-hundredth of one percent of the U.S. population, by the way.)

But there is something that Rick Santorum said last month that really bothers me. And I’m going to tell you what it is.

On December 5, Santorum was talking to a group of about 100 students at Dordt College, a small Christian college in Iowa. A student referred to a 2009 Harvard study showing that 44,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have health coverage. The student then asked Santorum what that meant for the Christian responsibility of caring for the poor. Specifically, the student questioned whether “God appreciates the fact” that all those Americans die each year for lack of healthcare.

Santorum’s response? Rick Santorum “rejects” the idea “that people die in America because of lack of health insurance.”

Wake up, Rick.

The student was referring to the same study that I publicized on the Floor of the House two weeks after it was published in the American Journal of Public Health. Here it is. It documents that 44,789 Americans die each year because they have no health insurance. In fact, if you take two Americans who are physically identical – same age, same gender, same race, same weight, same smoking history – and one of them has health insurance and one does not, then the one without health insurance is 40% more likely to die each year.

Here is a link to my speech on this, entitled “I Apologize to the Dead and Their Families.”

I remember the same response from right-wingers then as we hear from Santorum today – anyone can go to an emergency room. I ask them to show me an emergency room that will provide chemotherapy to a cancer victim. There isn’t one.

But to answer that challenge, I started a website called www.NamesOfTheDead.com. I invited surviving family and friends to tell me about people whom they had loved and lost, because they had no health coverage. And they did – thousands of them. I read some of their stories on the House Floor.

Then I gave a speech identifying how many people died each year for lack of health care in each district represented by a Republican healthcare opponent. The Republicans interrupted that speech for two hours, until the House Parliamentarian told them that they had to let me continue. A reporter who has covered Capitol Hill for more than 25 years told me that that kind of interruption had never happened before.

But Rick Santorum apparently never got the memo. He thinks that no one in America ever dies because he has no health care.

Why does Santorum think that? Because he has to. He has to engage in flat denial of the reality that 50 million Americans – one out of every six of us – face each day. Because to face that reality would mean that Santorum would have to face the brutality, the swinishness, the cruelty and the savagery of the policies that he so enthusiastically espouses.

For God’s sake – every single other industrialized country in the entire world has universal health care. Why can’t we? How many more people have to die? How many more sacrifices on the altar of Almighty Greed?

Any health care system that denies necessary care on the basis of wealth is evil. It doesn’t matter how you micromanage it, or tinker with it. It’s evil.

When Justice Harry Blackmun began voting against death in every death penalty case, he gave this simple and eloquent explanation: “From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.”

We need to reach the same kind of realization in health care. Forget about the tinkering. This is America, not Myanmar. People who are sick need to be able to see a doctor. Because we are human beings, not cattle. End of story.

Are you listening, Rick Santorum?

Alan Grayson

P.S. To the tens of thousands of us who helped our campaign during 2011, thank you. From my heart, thank you.

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Occupy the Rose Parade: 5,000 Protesters, Giant Octopus Fail to Make Live TV

Occupy the Rose Parade: 5,000 Protesters, Giant Octopus Fail to Make Live TV

Apparently the 70-foot octopus float carried by an estimated 5,000 Occupy L.A. protesters at the end of today's Rose Parade wasn't awesome enough for KTLA, the premiere local station covering the event.

Reporters gushed over marching bands, floral arrangements and even a police horse brigade led by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. But after float No. 43 had passed the finish line, the cameras shut off.

"Raw video" of the unofficial Occupy entry has been relegated to a corner of KTLA's website, because...

... the station is surely aware of the immense national (and international) interest in the parade-ending spectacle. It is, after all, Occupy's much-anticipated answer to carrying its last three months of momentum into the new year.

Occupying the Rose Parade's TV Audience With Anything but Occupy Wall Street Marchers
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